Here Are 4 Women Who Fought Back Against False Prostitution Arrests

While organizations like Amnesty International have made public their support for the decriminalization of the global consensual sex trade in order to protect the human rights and dignity of sex workers, many feminist activists and leaders argue legalizing sex work would protect no one but pimps and johns — entitled to exploiting vulnerable women.

In the United States, prostitution is criminalized and more than 55,000 prostitution arrests are made annually. According to a recent New York Times feature, more than two-thirds of those arrests involve women and women of color face even higher risk of arrest. Another estimate finds as many as 100,000 children are in the sex trade in the United States. According to the FBI, in 2013, 656 children were arrested for prostitution.

Police approaches to arresting women and children in the sex trade vary from state to state with some police departments using victim-centered methods of arrest while it is reported that other police departments can treat victims more as criminals or abuse their power.

Some women are even arrested wrongfully. Here are four women who fought back:

1. Monica Jones, Trans Woman Of Color
In April 2014 Jones was convicted of “manifesting prostitution” for walking down an Arizona street. The court overturned the verdict in January 2015. 

2.Valerie Rodriguez, Job Applicant
In 2005, Rodriguez applied for a job at the Postal Service but was rejected because she allegedly had a criminal record as a prostitute. When she tried to straighten out the error at the Denver Police Department they arrested her. In 2007 the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on her behalf, which was resolved. 

3. "Love" Surgical Technician Student
"Love" who remained anonymous in a report was arrested by cops who thought she was a still a sex worker. At the time she was studying to be a surgical technician. In 2014 she was declared not guilty and she settled her false arrest lawsuit with New York City for $15,000.

4. Monica Gonzalez, Grandmother
In 2007, Gonzalez was walking to the hospital after suffering from an asthma attack in the middle of the night when she was accused of trying to solicit men in Brooklyn. New York City paid Gonzalez $35,000 to settle her false arrest. 

So what is your take on the criminalization of prostitution in America? Do you have an argument for and against it? Share your thoughts with @MAKERSwomen on Twitter or on our Facebook page.

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